(Johannesburg) – Mandela Month leveraged to unlock youth potential.
This year, Total, HSBC and law firms Silversoft and Spoor & Fisher partnered with Afrika Tikkun to hold its annual Afrika Tikkun Talent Day. In answer to Nelson Mandela’s call to remember the children and young people of South Africa, the event saw 2,500 children and young people of all ages from Diepsloot, Orange Farm, Alexandra, and inner-city Johannesburg converge on Wanderers Stadium.
Children between the ages of seven and 18 competed in soccer, netball and athletics, while children with physical disabilities joined in the action by taking part in seated volleyball, an event introduced a few years ago. Aside from sporting fun, the participants also enjoyed quizzes, and displayed their art and entrepreneurial innovations.
Staff from the sponsoring companies participated in facilitating the day’s fun activities by refereeing games, judging the cultural activities, keeping score, manning stands and serving food.
Mark Stadler, CEO of HSBC Africa said: “For us it’s about investing in the future. We look to put back into the community because we are guests in this country, and it’s important for our staff that they see us being supportive of those who need help.” Stadler said it was important to see the benefit in terms of something tangible rather than just a financial contribution.
“Games are a way of building leadership qualities and confidence, facilitating peer connections and team building in a fun but effective way. It also teaches young people about discipline and commitment; most of the world’s best sportsmen and women became stars because of discipline,” explained Pierre-Yves Sachet, MD and CEO, Total South Africa.
“For us, the focus is not the day but rather on how we have been able to contribute as a team to addressing a social challenge and helping the children and young adults find their niche,” said Kaajal Nagindas, senior associate at Spoor & Fisher.
“When you spend time with kids, you realise how pure they are and how they don’t take anything for granted. They are always so happy,” commented Silversoft consultant Kgopotsho Mutheketela.
“It’s so refreshing to see how joyful they are,” agreed Silversoft MD Jacques de Buisson.
Through partnering with these companies, Afrika Tikkun has been able to create a platform for children to apply life skills in the context of teamwork, tolerance and self-discipline.
“Afrika Tikkun Talent Day is all about belonging. Kids feel they belong to a family that extends across South Africa. Tikkun staff and donors feel we belong to a club of caring contributors bonded together to make our country great for all,” said Afrika Tikkun CEO Marc Lubner.